A linguistic study of shop signs in Kuwait

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A linguistic study of shop signs in Kuwait
ii
iii
DEDICATION
To the greatest mother,
Suad Al-Shebani.
This is for her!
iv
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
First and foremost, I thank Allah, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful for giving me the
strength and extreme patience to be able to finish this work with great self-satisfaction. This
thesis would not have been possible without the help and patience of my supervisor, Professor
Jihad Hamdan. I thank my committee members: Professor Al-Ajlouny, Professor Mahadin and
Professor Khanji for their valuable suggestions and comments to improve my thesis.
My utmost gratitude goes to Dr. Shamlan al-Qenaie from Kuwait University whose
sincerity, encouragement and unselfish support I will never forget.
I thank my family: my mother, siblings (Khulud, Aref, Nadya and Nour) and my sisterin-law (Irina) from the bottom of my heart for thier unconditional love, support and prayers. I
would not have completed this thesis without thier affection and constant encouragement; I
dearly appreciate it.
I thank my dearest friends in Jordan and Kuwait for being by my side at all times
supporting me unconditionally; thier support and help are eternally remembered. Thank you!
v
LIST OF CONTENTS
Committee Decision
ii
Dedication
iii
Acknowledgment
iv
List of Contents
v
Arabic Transliteration Symbols
ix
Abstract
xi
Chapter One: Introduction
1
1. Introduction
1
1.1 A Historical Linguistic Background
1
1.2 Language Use in Kuwaiti Shop Signs
5
2. Significance of the Study
6
3. Purpose of the Study
7
4. Definitions of Terms
7
4.1 Transliteration and Romanization
7
4.2 Translation
8
4.3 Borrowing
8
4.4 Arabization
8
4.5 Kuwaiti Spoken Arabic
8
Chapter Two: Literature Review
10
2.1 Linguistic Landscape and Shop Signs
10
2.2 Shoppers’ Attitudes toward Shop Signs
34
2.3 English in Advertisements
36
vi
Chapter Three: Methodology
39
3.1 Shop Signs
39
3.1.1 Qiblah Area: Fahad Al-Salem Street
40
3.1.2 Fahaheel Area: Al Dabous Street
41
3.1.3 Hawally Area: Ibn Khaldun Street
41
3.2 Shoppers’ Attitudes
42
3.2.1 Questonnaire Format
42
3.2.2 Pilot Study
43
3.2.3 Respondents of the Questionnaire
43
3.2.4 Collection and Analysis of Responses
44
3.3 Analysis Procedure of Shop Signs
45
Chapter Four: Results and Discussion
46
4.1 Introduction
46
4.2 The Language of Shop Signs
46
4.3 Language Arrangement
55
4.3.1 Bilingual Arabic-English Shop Signs
55
4.3.2 Multilingual Arabic-Other Shop Signs
62
4.4 Language Choice and Type of Service
67
4.5 Specific Linguistic Features
81
4.5.1 Phonetic Features
81
4.5.1.1 Consonant Changes
81
4.5.1.2 Vowel Changes
90
4.5.1.3 Transliterated Shop Signs
95
4.5.1.4 Variable Spellings and Orthographic-Translation Errors
98
vii
4.5.2 Morphological Features
101
4.5.2.1 Abbreviations and Acronyms
102
4.5.2.2 Word Class
110
4.5.3 Semantic Features
114
4.5.3.1 Denotation
115
4.5.3.2 Reference
116
4.5.3.3 Connotation
118
4.5.3.4 Synonymy
120
4.5.3.5 Discrepancy of Meaning
121
4.5.4 Syntactic Features
123
4.5.4.1 Agreement
123
4.5.4.2 Word Order in Translation
124
4.6 Shoppers’ Attitudes towards the Choice of Language on Shop Signs
127
4.6.1 Language Choice
127
4.6.2 Products/Services
144
4.6.3 Specific Linguistic Features
149
Chapter Five: Conclusions and Recommendations
156
5.1 Introduction
156
5.2 Language(s) of Shop Signs
156
5.3 Products/Services of Shop Signs
158
5.4 Specific Linguistic Features of Shop Signs
159
5.4.1 Phonetic Features
159
5.4.2 Morphological Features
161
5.4.3 Semantic Features
162
viii
5.4.4 Syntactic Features
162
5.5 Recommendations
164
References
165
Appendices
174
Abstract in Arabic
210
ix
ARABIC TRANSLITERATION SYMBOLS
Arabic Sound
Symbol
‫ء‬
/ʔ/
‫ب‬
Phonetic Description
Examples
Translation
Voiceless glottal stop
‘ʔamal’
hope
/b/
Voiced bilabial stop
‘burj’
tower
‫ت‬
/t/
Voiceless dental stop
‘tu:t’
berry
‫ث‬
/th/
Voiceless dental fricative
‘thurayya’
chandelier
‫ج‬
/j/
Voiced palato-alveolar
‘jamal’
camel
‘Harr’
heat/hot
‘kharu:f’
sheep
affricate
‫ح‬
/H/
Voiceless pharyngeal fricative
‫خ‬
/kh/
Voiceless uvular fricative
‫د‬
/d/
Voiced alveolar stop
‘dubb’
bear
‫ذ‬
/Th/
Voiced dental fricative
‘Thiʔb’
wolf
c
‘ra d’
thunder
‘zara:fah’
giraffe
‫ر‬
/r/
Voiced alveolar approximant
‫ز‬
/z/
Voiced alveolar fricative
‫س‬
/s/
Voiceless alveolar fricative
‘sayya:rah’
car
‫ش‬
/sh/
Voiceless alveo-palatal
‘shajarah’
tree
‘saru:kh’
rocket
‘dabb’
lizard
‘ta:wu:s’
peacock
‘dhari:f’
humorous
‘ca:zif’
music player
‘ghari:b’
stranger
fricative
‫ص‬
/s/
Voiceless emphatic alveolar
fricative
‫ض‬
/d/
Voiced emphatic alveolar
stop
‫ط‬
/t/
Voiceless emphatic alveolar
stop
‫ظ‬
/dh/
‫ع‬
c
//
‫غ‬
/gh/
‫ف‬
/f/
Voiceless labiodental fricative
‘fa:ris’
knight
‫ق‬
/q/
Voiceless uvular stop
‘qita:r’
train
‫ك‬
/k/
Voiceless velar stop
‘kaɁs’
glass
‫ل‬
/l/
Voiced alveolar lateral
‘laymu:n’
lemon
‫م‬
/m/
Voiced bilabial nasal
‘masjid’
mosque
Voiced emphatic dental
fricative
Voiced pharyngeal fricative
Voiced uvular fricative
x
‘nu:r’
light
Voiceless glottal fricative
‘hirrah’
cat
/w/
Voiced labio-velar glide
‘wadi:’
valley
‫ى‬
/y/
Voiced palatal glide
‘yanbu:c’
fountain
‫تش‬
/tsh/
Voiceless alveo-palatal
‘atsha:r’
pickled
‫ن‬
/n/
Voiced alveolar nasal
‫ه‬
/h/
‫و‬
affricate
onion/garlic
‫كسرة‬
/i/
Short front high unrounded
‘ɁiHtira:m’
respect
‫فتحة‬
/a/
Short low central unrounded
‘waraqa’
paper
‫ضمة‬
/u/
Short back high rounded
‘kutub’
books
--
/i:/
Long front high unrounded
‘sikki:n’
knife
--
/a:/
Long low central unrounded
‘masa:Hah’
eraser
--
/u:/
Long back high rounded
‘mamnu:c’
forbidden
--
/o:/
Long back mid rounded
‘tho:m’
garlic
--
/e:/
Long front mid unrounded
‘be:t’
house
--
/ʊ/
Short back rounded
‘kʊtʊb’
books
--
/eɪ/
Narrow closing front
‘fiHeɪHi:l’
city name in
diphthong ending in a high
Kuwait
short vowel
---
/aɪ/
Wide closing diphthong
ending in a high short front
vowel
‘shaɪ’
tea
xi
A LINGUISTIC STUDY OF SHOP SIGNS IN KUWAIT
By
Lamya Al-Mousa
Supervisor
Professor Jihad Hamdan
ABSTRACT
This study examines shop signs quantitatively and qualitatively in terms of language
choice within the State of Kuwait; it also examines the arrangement of language in shop signs.
The study is based on 784 shop signs photographed from three streets within Kuwait: Ibn
Khaldun, Al Dabous and Fahad Al-Salem. It outlines the linguistic content of shop signs and its
correlation to the services and products offered by the shops. The main linguistic features of
these signs, e.g. phonetic, morphological, semantic and syntactic are also examined. Each
linguistic feature has its unique intriguing elements. Furthermore, it presents and discusses the
attitudes of a sample of Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti shoppers toward the language used in shop
signs through a questionnaire distributed to 100 shoppers.
The study concludes that most language choices used in Kuwaiti shop signs are bilingual
Arabic-English with a secondary choice of monolingual Arabic and finally, multilingual ArabicOther. Shoppers also affirmed that Arabic and English languages are the most frequently used
languages in shop signs. The study also revealed that the Arabic language dominates other
foreign languages in the language arrangement displayed in shop signs. Furthermore, the
language choices most often used to represent shop services and products were bilingual ArabicEnglish and monolingual Arabic.
1
Chapter One
Introduction
“Language is a social fact, not the property of any individual, it follows that a linguistic change is
equivalent to the diffusion of that change”
William Labov (2003:9)
1. Introduction
Language is a social phenomenon that is constantly influenced by linguistic and extra
linguistic factors. Kuwaiti spoken Arabic is an extensive example of a language that is
susceptible to the intrusion of foreign languages. The impingement of foreign words is apparent
in all domains in the Kuwaiti society, particularly in Kuwaiti shop signs. This chapter is divided
into five sub-sections which include the historical linguistic background in Kuwait, language use
in Kuwaiti shop signs, significance of the study, purpose of the study, definition of terms used
throughout this study, and a brief note on Kuwaiti spoken Arabic.
1.1 A Historical Linguistic Background
Neither the intrusion of foreign languages nor the varieties of Arabic dialects were recent
developments in Kuwaiti Arabic. These changes began centuries ago due to Kuwait’s unique
geographical position amongst other Gulf States since it links land and sea and is considered “a
centre for unity and spreading of various civilization” (Centre for Research and Studies on
Kuwait, http://62.150.86.180/Home.asp.) Civilization in Kuwait can be traced back to the
invasion of the Macedonian Alexander (the Great). When he invaded the east and discovered the
sea path between Al-Sind river and Shatt Alarab through the gulf in 326 BC, he stayed with his
soldiers on the island of Failaka (one of the most beautiful islands in the State of Kuwait) and
discovered the ‘Ikariues’ stone with Greek language engraved on it. Therefore, Failaka was
2
named as Ikariues (Kuwait Municipality, 2011: 57). According to Kuwaiti historians, the
presence of the Greeks symbolizes “historical proof that certifies the emergence of an old
civilization in Kuwait that was contemporary to the ancient eastern civilizations” (Al-Diwan AlAmiri, 2012 www.do.gov.kw/eng/picsand/riseofkuwait.php.) Furthermore, the Gulf, specifically
Kuwait, witnessed the first conflict between Persians and Muslims during the period of Caliph
Abu
Baker
Al-Sideeq
in
633AD
(Al-Diwan
Al-Amiri,
2012
www.do.gov.kw/eng/picsand/riseofkuwait.php.)
Loanwords have been used intensively in Kuwaiti trade and commerce specifically in the
trade of pearls, wood, spices and dates. Historically, Kuwaitis were mostly herders, fishermen
and pearl divers who travelled and sold their products in India and throughout the horn of Africa.
They were known as traders in venues as widely spread as Colombo, Bengal and in eastern
Indian islands, leading to a prosperity in which Kuwait City “grew as new trades sprang up to
serve the travellers and to meet the needs of the Bedouins who visited the town souks or markets,
and the needs of the town people themselves” (O’Shea and Spilling, 2009: 20.) These activities
took place prior to the discovery of oil, which has increased Kuwait’s connectivity with the
external world exponentially.
The contact with foreigners for the purpose of commerce and trade led Kuwaitis to learn the
dealers’ languages or a variety of Arabic in order to communicate effectively and thereby
accomplish their commercial goals. At this point, the Kuwaiti spoken Arabic has incorporated a
variety of words from India, Iran and English. Johnstone (1967) states that bilingualism became
common and essential as a beneficial tool for commercial purposes. Some merchants speak
either two varieties of Arabic or two different languages, for example English and Arabic,
3
Lebanese and Kuwaiti, Urdu and Arabic amongst other combinations. According to Mindour
(cited in Al-Sabcan, 1983:28), a language or a dialect is exposed to blend as a result of linguistic
borrowing between spoken languages. Moreover, a language or a dialect is by nature subject to
alterations and linguistic changes. The Kuwaiti dialect was affected by social and cultural factors
in which internal and permanent immigration was apparent. In the past, travelling was the
primary factor affecting the dialect since travel was a matter of work, trade and international
communication. Thus, the dialect would naturally include, for instance, a mixture of English and
Indian loanwords. Nowadays, travel is also for tourism and pleasure leading to constant addition
of new loanwords. Furthermore, internal social factors affected much of Kuwaiti society-including the dialect-- such as the rise of the petroleum industry, the increase in immigration, the
increase growth in education, media, health, social services, commerce, transportation, sports
clubs and the National Council for Arts, Culture and Letters ( Al-Sabcan, 1983:50-75.)
O’Shea and Spilling (2009) note that English, particularly American English, is the second
language used by most educated Kuwaitis and its usage has spread throughout the educational
system, business circles, media, government and the private sector. They claim that “getting
around with just English could be difficult [for some], although street signs and many shop signs
are in both English and Arabic.” Even though English is spoken widely in Kuwait, there are
other languages spoken due to the various minorities living and working in the State. O’Shea and
Spilling (2009: 95-6) believe that this phenomenon “reflects the diverse origins of the many
expatriates in the country.” Farsi, Standard Hindi, a variety of regional Filipino languages, and
Urdu are widely heard in the markets and on the streets.
208
KAHROMIKA MISR CO. For Mechanical &
Electrical Projects
Altarboush Alahmar Co. Readymade Garments
HOOKAH Lounge Cafe
NEW MAX SPORTS
SALOON STAR AL-MUTABA for men
restaurant
THE KUWAIT BOOKSHOPS CO. LTD.
Dr. Lawyer Obaid Al-Enezi
Saleh Ghufran Fadel
AISHA M. AL-NAJDI- ATTORNEY–AT-LAW
OXFORD TRAINING CENTER
KUWAIT INDIAN INTERNATIONAL
EXCHANGE CO. W.L.L Since 1979
Dr. Tamah Al-Shammari & Mr Ahmed AlShammari
LAW FIRM
LAWYERS Jawad Naser Al-Arbash & Naser
Jawad Al-Arbash
MAY F. AL-KAZEMI – LAW BUREAU
SPAGO
Siri Mobile Center
‫كهروميكا‬
133
‫شركة الطربوش األحمر للمالبس الجاهزة‬
‫مطعم ومقهى هوكا النج‬
‫سوق وردة المسار المركزي‬
‫صالون نجوم المطبه‬
99 ‫مطعم‬
‫شركة المكتبات الكويتية المحدودة‬
‫المحامي الدكتور عبيد العنزي‬
‫المحامي صالح غفران فضل – امام المحكمة‬
‫الدستورية ومحكمة التمييز‬
‫المحامية عائشة محمد النجدي‬
‫أكسفورد لالستشارات والتدريب‬
‫م‬.‫م‬.‫الشركة الكويتية الهندية العالمية للصيرفة ذ‬
9949 ‫منذ عام‬
‫المحاميان الدكتور طعمة الشمري واالستاذ أحمد‬
‫الشمري‬
134
135
136
137
138
139
140
141
‫المحاميان جواد ناصر األربش وناصر جواد‬
‫األربش‬
‫مكتب مي فيصل الكاظمي‬
‫سباجو‬
146
సిర్ి మొబైల్ సెంటర్ ( Telugu)
Siri means Sir
Dharani Digital
ధరణి డిజిటల్ (Telugu)
Studio & Video
సూ
ూ డియో వీడియో
Mixing Vision
బొ బ్బి స్టూ ర్్
(Telugu) same as
English words
Mixing
Bobby Stores
Bhanu
భాను ముసికాల్
Musical
(Telugu spoken in
Andhra Pradesh)
SARAP NA
Delights
HAHANAP –
HANAPIN
( Tagalog spoken
in the Republic
of Philippines)
142
143
144
145
147
148
149
150
‫ مؤسسة المهيني‬151
‫للهدايا والكماليات‬
‫ مركز بانو‬152
‫للصوتيات‬
‫والمرئيات‬
‫ دياليتس‬153
209
그라나다 약국
( Korean)
Telugu
(spoken in
Andhra Pradesh
State in India)
It says: Andhra
Bakala and not
Miami (Andhra is
a city in India)
Telugu. In red, it
says HERE.
Under it : Courier
registration
Sinhalese
SriLanka
black small
writing : taste of
SriLnaka
Red large
writing: Lat haa
Restaurant. Lat
haa is a name of a
girl
ආසිඅ ස්ටාර්
සුඔඑර් මර්කෙට්
(Sinhalese
spoken in Sri
Lanka)
Written in
big/middle
font in red
Blue/middle/
small=
Sinhalese
ஆசியா
ஸ்டார்
சூப்பர்
மார்க்கெட்
(Tamil spoken in
Sri Lanka/ Indian)
written in
brown/right
Red/middle/smal
l= Tamil
ఆసియా సూపర్
మార్కెట్
(Telugu-Indian)
Written in
blue/left
Same as English
Tamil
Granada
Pharmacy
Al-Miami
Stores &
Bakkala
indian stores
indian,
philippine,
pakistan, sri
lankan and
bangladeshi
grocery items
available here
JAWHARA
AL-BUSTAN
CENTRAL
MARKET
FIRST
SALHIYA
RESTAURA
NT SRI
LANKAINDIACHINES
FOOD
ASIA STAR
SUPER
MARKET
Three Star
Center –Gifts
& Novelties
‫ صيدلية غرناطة‬154
‫ بقالة ستورس‬155
‫الميامي‬
‫ سوق جوهرة‬156
‫البستان المركزي‬
‫ مطعم الصالحية‬157
‫األول‬
‫ سوق اضواء آسيا‬158
‫المركزي‬
Other
languages are
equivalent to
Arabic and
English
‫ مركز النجم‬159
‫الثالثي للهدايا‬
‫والكماليات‬
‫‪210‬‬
‫دراسة لغوية لالفتات المحالت التجارية في الكويت‬
‫إعداد‬
‫لمياء الموسى‬
‫المشرف‬
‫األستاذ الدكتور جهاد حمدان‬
‫ملخـــص‬
‫هدف هذه األطروحة إلى دراسة الفتات المحالت التجارية داخل دولة الكويت من حيث اللغة المستخدمة‬
‫وترتيب اللغات على هذه الالفتات واستندت هذه الدراسة على ‪ 487‬الفته تجارية مصورة من ثالثة‬
‫شوارع داخل دولة الكويت‪ :‬ابن خلدون‪ ,‬الدبوس وفهد السالم وبينت الناتج أنﱠاللغة العربية تهيمن على‬
‫اللغات األجنبية األخرى من حيث ترتيب اللغات على الالفتات التجارية‪ .‬كما تناولت الدراسة العالقة بين‬
‫المحتوى اللغوي في الالفتات ونوعية الخدمات والبضائع التي تقدمها المحالت التجارية‪ .‬كذلك عرضت‬
‫الدراسة الخصائص اللغوية الموجودة على الالفتات‪ :‬الصوتيه‪ ،‬والصرفية‪ ،‬والداللية والنحوية‪ .‬وبعد تحليل‬
‫النتائج أظهرت كل خاصية مميزات معينة‪ .‬كما بحثت الدراسة مواقف ‪ 911‬من المتسوقين الكويتيين وغير‬
‫الكويتيين تجاه لغة المحل التجاري في ضوء استجاباتهم على بنود استبانه أعدت لهذه الغاية‪.‬‬
‫وخَُلصت الدراسة إلى أنَ ترتيب اللغات األكثر استخداماﹰ فى المتاجر الكويتية هي الآلتي‪:‬‬

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